Many people think that, because they have all of their documents, photos, videos, recipes, contacts and other data stored on their computer hard drive, those files are safe. And for the most part, they’re right. Putting your files on a computer is safer than having them in a dusty old file cabinet. And on a computer, you can easily search for and find documents in seconds. But, don’t forget that a computer is very much like that file cabinet. Instead of being vulnerable to enemies like moths and dust, hard drives can stop working, and documents can become corrupted or accidentally deleted. So what can you do? The answer is simple. Back up your files. Often.
And by often, we mean at least once a month. If you add new files or edit old files frequently, then do your backup once a week. Portable hard drives have come a long way the last few years. For example, with one of our favorite hard drives, ClickFree, you don’t even have to remember to do it the backup yourself. You can just plug the tiny box into your computer and leave it there, so it can back up your data at regular intervals. You don’t even have to be in the room. And with their latest version, the CS6 EASY Imaging, it not only backs up your files, it also backs up your entire computer. So if your computer were to crash, all you have to do is plug in your ClickFree, press one button, and it restores your entire system – software programs and all – to the state of your computer, before the meltdown.
When you think about backing up all of the data that you currently have on your computer, your smartphones, tablets, netbooks and any other devices, how do you picture that data? Do you break it up into two groups – the data you have to archive and keep safe and the data that you don’t really care about? Or do you want to keep everything you have safe?
You should analyze all of your files and decide which ones need to be backed up and archived to ensure that the files and documents that are important to you – like your photos, music collection and Ready In 10 Grab it and Go Forms, are safe, sound and at your fingertips no matter what happens.
Or you can simply decide that all of your files are important. If not, why would you have saved them in the first place? Portable hard drives are so inexpensive, it makes more sense and takes less time just to do a complete backup of your computer to one or two portable hard drives and place each of those hard drives in a different location. That way, if your home or your area is affected by a destructive disaster, all of your files will be patiently waiting for you, at another location.
Once you have all of the files on your computer backed up, consider putting your most vital documents, or the ones that mean the most to you, on a flash drive, so that you can have them at your fingertips whenever you need them. You might choose your favorite family photos, music files, videos, vital documents – anything that you want to keep near you in an emergency or that you want immediately accessible to you, without having to run to the safe deposit box or wait until you reach your evacuation location. One of the best flash drives we’ve found is Kingston’s urDrive. It’s the newest 8 GB USB drive from their DataTraveler line. It’s tiny, has a hole in it to fit on a keychain and comes with apps and a browser that you can use right from the drive. It’s pretty amazing and is designed to take all the bumps and nicks that you can dish out, all the while keeping your data safe and secure.
1. First You Have To Find It..
Grab a pencil and paper and jot down the data you currently have on your computer, removable disks or CDs, that you either need access to in a disaster or emergency, or that you absolutely cannot replace if lost or destroyed.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Downloaded Music Files
Books you’ve purchased or downloaded
Articles or Papers that you have authored
Anything else you or your family have created that you do not want to lose.
2. Here’s How To Back It Up
Using the list you just compiled, locate the data that you want to safeguard on your computer.
Create a new folder on your computer desktop and name it “Backup Data (dd/mm/yy),” with today’s date.
Leaving the original files where they are on your computer, copy all of the data you wish to back up and place the copies in that new Backup Folder.
The simplest way to copy a large amount of files on a PC is to:
Highlight the files you wish to copy either by clicking on them while holding down the shift key, or choosing them with your mouse.
Hold down the CTRL key + the letter C at the same time to copy them.
Open the Backup folder, click your mouse inside the folder and hold down the CTRL key + the letter V to paste all of the files inside of the new folder.
The simplest way to copy a large amount of files on a Mac is to:
Hold down the Option Key or Alt, and click on the file that you want to move, then drag it and drop it in its new location. Double check to make sure that there is a copy of the file in the old and the new locations.
3. The Best Place To Put The Backed Up Data Is…
Where and how you decide to secure and store your information is up to you. But here are a few ideas:
Place files on a flash drive or portable hard drive, that you can take with during evacuation on a key ring or in your evacuation bin.
Place files on a flash drive or portable hard drive, that’s located in a safe deposit box or water/fireproof safe in your own city.
Place the flash drive or portable hard drive, that’s located in a safe deposit box, water/fireproof safe, or with relatives in the city where you’ll be evacuating.
Place files on a files on a password-protected online file repository, in the Cloud or even the file directory of your family’s personal web site. This way if you need a copy of your data quickly, you can retrieve it from any Internet-enabled computer.
4. One Important Thing To Remember
DO NOT put your or your family’s social security numbers in your list of vital information or in online files or folders, no matter how secure they are.
If you have to have those numbers with you (and haven’t memorized them), copy or scan the originals and place them in a secure safe deposit box instead.
Want to download these instructions for later? Click Here to download the PDF version.
Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together! We’ll talk later…
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